The economy is not doing anyone any favors these days, especially for some of my bankruptcy clients. And unfortunately, some of my clients who have recently been in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy find themselves needing to file again.

For example, a couple recently came in that had filed bankruptcy five years ago, to save their house. They completed their plan recently, but the husband had lost his job in the last few months of their plan, so they have (again) gotten behind on their house payments. They asked their mortgage company for a Loan Modification, but were denied. Solution: now that the husband is re-employed, file a new Chapter 13, to propose to catch up the delinquent payments over another 60 month plan term.

Another client had a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and had planned to surrender their house because they were unemployed and could not afford to pay for it. But after the Chapter 7, with the mortgage company not having foreclosed on the house yet, my client had found new employment, and could now afford it. So we were able to file a Chapter 13, and propose to catch up the delinquent house payments over a 60 month term. In such a case, the Debtor is not entitled to a “discharge” or cancellation of debt; but they don’t need a discharge, if they are only filing the new case, to catch up a house.

Even if you have a Chapter 13 case dismissed, it is possible to re-file, if there has been a change in circumstances that makes a new case feasible. The “automatic stay” or court protection only lasts for 30 days in such a case, but your attorney can file a “motion to extend stay” and ask the Bankruptcy Judge to continue the protection. You and your lawyer then appear at a hearing and explain to the judge why the new case will be successful. If you carry your burden, the Judge will extend the stay, to let your new case go forward. But if you filed Chapter 7, and need to file another Chapter 7, it is 8 years before you can file another Chapter 7 and receive a discharge.

If you need advice or assistance about filing a new bankruptcy case, give my office a call.


In what may be the best diet-related health news of all time (at least until scientists discover that beer makes you live forever), a study at the University of Ontario has found antioxidants which can boost the body’s immune system are present in the herbs and spices used for . . . barbecue sauce.

The research team analyzed seven different popular sauces and marinades available at supermarkets.

The sauces contained herbs and spices as primary ingredients, and included such varieties and flavors as jerk sauce, garlic and herb, roasted red pepper, sesame ginger teriyaki, and others. Cooking reduces the antioxidant effect by about 50 percent, but even after barbecuing, the sauces still contain “significant” levels of antioxidants.

Fire up the grill and get healthy!


I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once.


If it came in a bottle, everybody would have a great body.
— Cher

The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.
—Vince Lombardi


SAVE $$$$$

In case you are living under a rock and don’t read the news, mortgage rates are at record lows. Bloomberg reported on July 1 that mortgage rates on 30-year U.S. loans slid to a record low for the second straight week, lowering borrowing costs as demand slumps.

Rates for 30-year fixed loans sank to 4.58 percent in the week ended July 1 from 4.69 percent last week, Freddie Mac said in a statement. The average 15-year rate fell to 4.04 percent, also a new low, the McLean, Virginia-based company said.

Now is the time to refinance, if you possibly can. If you don’t qualify to refinance, seek a Loan Modification from your mortgage servicer. For more information go to .


- Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. Houston has its own version of traffic rules…. Hold on and pray.

- There is no such thing as a dangerous high-speed chase in Houston. We all drive like that.

- The minimum acceptable speed on Loop 610 is 85. Anything less is considered downright sissy.

– The wrought iron on windows in east Houston is NOT ornamental.

- Never honk at the driver of the car with the bumper sticker that says, “Keep honking, I’m reloading.” In fact, don’t honk at anyone.

- If you are in the left lane and only going 70 in a 60 mph zone, that’s not a finger waving Hello to you as people pass.

- The Sam Houston Toll road is our daily version of NASCAR.

- If it’s only 100 degrees, Thanksgiving must be next weekend.

Are bill collectors threatening to take your home or garnish your wages? Are they threatening to do anything else that they are not allowed to by law?

Is your mortgage company charging you fees and costs that are not due? Are you just overwhelmed with debt?

Facing a foreclosure or repossession? Is the I.R.S. threatening to levy your wages or other property? If any of these situations describes you, contact Mr. Black at 713-772-8037 or send him an email at Email J. Thomas Black. ■

ARE YOU IN CHAPTER 13 NOW? Always keep the law office updated with your current address, telephone numbers, and email address. We may need to reach you quickly. 24 hours/7 days a week, you can check on the status of your Trustee payments, how much you still owe on your case, etc., by going to to set up your user ID and password. Lose job or overtime? Expenses increase? Want to give up property to lower payments?

Go to , click on “ Current Clients Click Here” on home page, and fill out the Motion to Modify worksheet. Fax to office at 713-772-5058. We’ll review it and contact you if a change to your plan is possible.

J Thomas Black
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Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization